WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is expected to officially announce revisions to their COVID-19 guidance on Tuesday, reversing their stance on masks by recommending that some vaccinated individuals should now wear masks indoors in certain situations as the more potent Delta variant causes spikes in infections nationwide.
Previously, in May, the CDC had stated that vaccinated individuals no longer needed to wear masks or practice social distancing in most situations, indoors or outdoors; at that time, the CDC only recommended that the unvaccinated should continue wearing masks and that anyone – vaccinated or not – should only wear them in crowded indoor settings.
In addition, the CDC is also expected to recommend Tuesday that everyone attending schools this fall – both students and staff – should wear masks regardless of vaccination status, especially in areas with high or substantial COVID-19 transmission rates.
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Just as the pandemic was winding down in the face of growing vaccinations and life was appearing to be returning to normal, the Delta variant has proved to be a more contagious and potent version of COVID-19 that has been especially problematic in unvaccinated areas of the United States.
Currently, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky has noted that the Delta variant is “spreading with incredible efficiency and now represents more than 83 percent of the virus circulating the United States.”
The CDC’s impending announcement today will likely serve as a psychological and emotional setback for many people who had felt that that pandemic was finally in the rearview mirror, and will likely inflame tensions between people who will adhere to the CDC’s recommendations and those who feel that mask mandates encroach on their personal freedoms.
It should be noted that the CDC cannot issue or enforce mandates, only make recommendations based on the latest science and information available that state and local governments can choose to follow or not.
Currently, over 163 million Americans have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the CDC.